Classical music patron donates $56 million to Minnesota Public Radio

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In her first year as head of the American Public Media Group (APMG), Jean Taylor announced Wednesday that an anonymous donor gave $56 million to Minnesota Public Radio.

This is the largest donation in MPR’s 55-year history. The money will be used to strengthen YourClassical programs and fund technology support for new media transmission.

“This extraordinary gift will have a transformative impact on the future of Minnesota Public Radio and the communities we serve,” said Taylor, president and CEO of APMG, in a written statement. “This will allow us to deepen and broaden our relevance to a growing audience by delivering compelling content, creating meaningful listening experiences and advancing MPR’s digital capabilities and infrastructure.” Thanks to the generosity and support of this donor, and of so many others, we will continue to fulfill our public service mission.

MPR, a member of APMG, offers programming in three key areas: news and information, classical music and contemporary music. The donor’s gift will provide financial resources for classical music over the long term.

Because this is a designated gift from the donor, MPR said it will establish a separate, permanent endowment to ensure the funds are used to meet the donor’s priorities.

“With the funds from this donation, MPR will be able to increase national appreciation for classical music and expand audience reach with new programming and technology,” MPR said in a written statement. “The [funding] the split between traditional programming and new media technologies will be guided by the organization’s strategic priorities. As MPR continues to invest in new media technology, it will serve as a model for digital transformation within APMG. »

YourClassical offers classical music programs through terrestrial radio programs and multiple web platforms. Among its nationally syndicated programs are: Pipedreams, SymphonyCast, Composers Datebook and Performance Today.

As Taylor and his leadership team consider how to fund key MPR and APMG priorities, this new money gives them more opportunities to innovate and launch new programs.

Taylor recently drew criticism on social media when she announced the removal of APM Reports, a national investigative unit based in St. Paul. The current.org, a news site that covers public media, reported on June 1 that some journalists attached to APM Reports would move to jobs with MPR.

“Over the next several weeks, we plan to dissolve APM Reports as a separate business unit and incorporate certain programming elements, including our focus on investigative journalism, into MPR News,” Taylor wrote in a statement. email reported by the Current news site.

MPR President Duchesne Drew, in an email reported by the Current, said no decision had been made on the future of the popular In the dark podcast produced by the staff of APM Reports.

“We are currently entering a process on decisions and possible changes that will occur with the APM Reports portfolio. No decision has been made at this time,” according to an email Drew sent to staff, which was quoted in the current June 1 article.

Drew is also a senior vice president at APMG. In Wednesday’s press release about the donor’s anonymous donation, Drew said, “At MPR, we are committed to being a trusted, independent source of information and inspiration for the public through a diverse portfolio of programs and of chains. More than a quarter of the music we play at YourClassical features a musician, ensemble, or composer who is female and/or Black, Indigenous, or person of color.

With the infusion of dollars from the donor’s gift, Drew said, MPR “will expand representation, grow YourClassical’s presence, and accelerate digital innovation to expand and better serve our classical music community.”

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